Wolverhampton Wanderers 2011-12 Season Review (Part 1 - The Autopsy)
So the dust has now settled on the 2011-12 season, and Wolves will now begin their next campaign in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League in fairly emphatic fashion.
For long periods of the season it looked like Wolves were going to be in the relegation mix again, but may just cling on by the skin of their teeth; similar to what happened the previous season.
Despite a great start, signs of impending doom had been there in the early stages of 11-12:
• We were hammered 3-0 by QPR at home in one of the worst displays I have ever seen.
• Two late goals against Swansea at Molineux, saving us from a sixth straight league defeat.
• Being beaten 2-0 by West Brom in the first Black Country derby of the season.
• Losing 3-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge where the under 14's would have probably shown more desire.
• Squandering 1-0 leads at home to Stoke and away at Everton and Tottenham.
• The Robbie Keane Show - 2-1 up at half time against Villa and playing some of the best football of the season, only to come out in the second half and throw it all away.
We did have moments where we were unlucky. Kevin Doyle had a perfectly legal goal disallowed against Newcastle, resulting in a 2-1 loss and Frank Lampard shouldn't have on the pitch at home to Chelsea and ended up netting the winning goal. There was also a controversial sending-off for Nenad Milijas away at Arsenal, but I can't say that had a direct impact on the result.
During this spell we had also taken just two points against the three promoted teams at Molineux, in contrast to seven taken against the new boys in 10-11. It was worrying to say the least.
Then came Sunday February 12 - the day I realised we were doomed, after a 5-1 hammering at Molineux by our neighbours West Bromwich Albion. This result also led to the knee-jerk reaction of sacking Mick McCarthy, arguably the correct decision but the timing of it was questionable.
We all know what happened next; Mick's assistant Terry Connor was given the task of keeping Wolves in the Premier League.
TC's spell started brightly, with a point at St. James Park, but was followed by 5-0 defeats to Fulham and Man Utd either side of a humiliating 2-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers - who were also relegated at the end of the campaign.
The next three matches saw an all-too-familiar trend return - Wolves went 1-0 up and still went onto lose the game; 2-1 away to both Stoke and Norwich, and 3-2 at home to Bolton - another team relegated at the end of the season.
Following a 3-0 home defeat to Arsenal, and a lacklustre 0-0 draw at Sunderland, Wolves were relegated following a 2-0 loss to Man City at Molineux. Although I was disappointed, I felt a huge sense of relief following this outcome; our future was confirmed and now we just had to play football. The games that followed saw a hugely entertaining 4-4 draw away at Swansea, a boring 0-0 draw at home against Everton and an exciting 3-2 loss at Wigan on the last day of the season, after going 1-0 up yet again.
Connor's Wolves side conceded 33 goals in 13 games, and accumulated just four points from that period. In truth, he never had a prayer.
Wolves were relegated with 25 points. If Wolves had won the seven games where they lead 1-0, they would have finished the season 12th with 46 points. Clutching at straws? Maybe, but it certainly highlights a cause of our downfall.
In the next part of my end of season review, I will delve a bit deeper into what actually went wrong during the 2011-12 campaign. Before looking at the new man in charge, and what my expectations are for the coming season.